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On Your Radar: A Walk in the Woods
by Karen Pecota

The famous real-life travel writer, Bill Bryson, celebrates his 1998 travel memoir, A Walk in the Woods with a film debut on the silver screen from Broad Green Pictures. It's Bryson's first book to be transformed into a feature length movie, thanks to the help of screenwriters, Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman.

Film director Ken Kwapis's takes portions of Bryson's celebrated memoir as the basis for his latest feature film, using the same name of the book, A Walk in the Woods. Kwapis directs an all star cast and gives credence to Bryson's experience when he connects to his American roots by walking the Appalachian Trail.

Bryson eloquently weaves details of history into every personal adventure he records. As a  masterful literary artist and a genius storyteller, Bryson keeps his fan-base engaged and left wanting more from his numerous tales of true adventure. His memoir A Walk in the Woods, comedic or not, Bryson always has something of value to share about life. Things worth remembering. Things that make one smile. And, often laugh whole-heartedly!

Bill Bryson (Robert Redford), an American ex-patriot lives in England with his beautiful British wife, Catherine (Emma Thompson). For the past twenty years, the two have raised their family in the idyllic countryside of Great Britain. Though living a life of fulfillment, Bryson longs to get back his roots. Bryson convinces his wife that a move to reconnect with his homeland would be of value to both of them, as it would to their children. In agreement, the Bill Bryson family relocate to the United States.

The first step toward Bill's reconnection is to get out into the wild and commune with nature--to walk the renown Appalachian Trail. To discover what lies along 2,200 miles of America's most spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine.

Anxious to find a few buddies to journey with him, Bryson contacts several of his childhood friends by special invitation to join the adventure. One by one Bryson's offer is declined. He decides to take the trek solo. Not the ideal situation but he comes to terms with it.

Bryson, while out on a practice hike near his home, gets a call from his wife mentioning that a person named Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte) heard about the trek and wants to join him. Stephan Katz was not invited by Bryson. And, rightly so. The two had a falling out thirty years prior and never expected to see each other again for as long as they lived. Bryson told Catherine that he could never walk the trail with Katz. They were too different and had nothing more in common. Bryson felt it would even be hard to be cordial to one another much less trek the famed trail together for fun. Catherine suggested he give Katz a chance. She would feel more comfortable if her husband were not alone in the wild for months on end. Bryson reluctantly agrees to reconnect with Katz to take A Walk in the Woods.

When the two first meet to start their journey, Bryson tells Catherine that they will never make it. Bryson is fit, healthy and strong. Katz is simply the opposite. Nor in his prime due to the amount of junk-food and ale he consumes. He's a mess. He looks exhausted before the men have walked from driveway into Bryson's house. Worried that the tranquility Bryson was looking forward to enjoying would be all but lost with a needy trekking partner. Bryson is disappointed by the sight of Katz.

As the two begin to share their life stories, Bryson realizes that Katz has not had a good life since their falling out and feels like the adventure has a deeper meaning for his old friend. He and Katz make a fresh start with their relationship, and together they pursue an adventure worth writing about. Comedic, horrific and rewarding, Bryson is bent on not writing about their trek, Katz tells him that someday he will regret it if he chooses not to turn their adventure into a book. Katz is convinced that the experiences celebrated by the unlikely pair will bring Bryson great success. And, so it does. So it does! Recalling years later the number of times he told Katz, "This will not be in the book because I am not writing a book about this..." With a smile and smirk, Bryson reminisces and pens their walk in the woods.